Warren warns of efforts to limit abortion in states that have protected access


Not everyone in Massachusetts is opposed to increased restrictions on abortion.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., questions Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen during a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, March 16, 2023, in Washington. AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File

BOSTON (AP) — U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Wednesday warned about additional attempts to curb access to abortion — efforts that she said could ultimately target states like Massachusetts that have worked to protect abortion rights.

Warren held a field hearing in Boston along with fellow Democratic Sen. Edward Markey, also of Massachusetts, to highlight some of those concerns following the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2022 to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Even in states that have tried to enshrine abortion rights — in 2022, Massachusetts lawmakers passed a shield law designed to protect abortion providers from out-of-state legal actions when they provide care to people living in states with abortion bans — further restrictions loom, Warren said.

“I’m furious that millions of women have lost fundamental rights. I’m furious that their freedom to make their own decisions has been taken away by a small number of extremists,” Warren said, adding that she’s even more concerned about what could happen if Donald Trump wins back the White House.

Markey said he’s also concerned about the direction of the nation’s high court.

“The Supreme Court has two more cases before it that could imperil abortion care nationwide including here in Massachusetts,” he said, “We are in a multi-generational war.”

One of those Supreme Court cases involves a challenge from conservative groups seeking to reverse the federal approval of the drug mifepristone — a medication used in the most common method of abortion in the United States — or roll back policies that have made it easier to obtain.

Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Campbell is among the critics who say that decision could end up making it harder for people in Massachusetts, where abortion is legal, to get their hands on the drug.

Not everyone in Massachusetts is opposed to increased restrictions on abortion.

Myrna Maloney Flynn, president of Massachusetts Citizens for Life, said elected officials opposed to limiting mail-order abortion medicine fail to consider potential health problems women could face by removing a physician from the equation.

She also faulted political figures like Warren and Markey for their criticism of pregnancy resource centers, which she described as community nonprofits that exist to offer “safe, cost-free, compassionate choices women deserve.”

Critics say the centers can be confusing and are designed to persuade women not to get abortions.

“It might come as a shock to Sens. Warren, Markey and Attorney General Campbell, but not every woman experiencing an unexpected pregnancy wants an abortion,” Flynn said. “Any serious roundtable discussion would consider such women and include ideas for serving them, too.”

Warren also pointed to efforts around the country that would expand legal and constitutional protections for embryos and fetuses, a long-time goal of the anti-abortion movement.

She said some abortion opponents, buoyed by the defeat of Roe v. Wade, are hoping to expand the protections nationally, including into states that have protected abortion rights.

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